We were sitting out on the porch with the breeze and we were keeping a close watch on whatever the sky was doing…which wasn't much. We pretended that we knew all the cats who passed by on the street and we tried to talk it up and make the world come alive for us; we gave them all names and expositions and weird habits that we knew they'd never be able to break. We sent some home, some to town and some into clinics where highly-trained professionals could take long, hard looks at them and then decide how best to repair the damage. We did that for hours and we held tight to the half-secret belief that we were Right about most of them.
That was the same day that the reservoir flooded and all the fish you could grab were floating out down on Parks Street but we never made it over there and we went out for hamburgers and wine instead.
Rudy and Roach stopped by later and told us about a pimp they knew back in the city. His name was Danny Lavender and he was obsessed with Horace Greeley; said he was on his own mission of Manifest Destiny. He told them: "Yeah baby, I gots a lot of bitches in my trap. I call 'em the Westward Hos. Dig?" But Rudy and Roach left before they ever really explained if they believed Danny Lavender when he said that. But I'm pretty sure that they dug it just the same.
We stayed out there on the porch and watched it get dark, just like it always does; when you see the light sinking and you always hope that some Miracle will keep it there and you end up thinking, just at the last second, that maybe…maybe, this time it will manage to hang on. But it didn't.
We got down underneath a blanket and pretended to do it while the night people moved on the sidewalk and sent us plenty of side-long glances, like maybe they knew what we were up to.
I remembered crazy old Manchester and all the groovy stories he used to lay on us about how his old daddy used to travel around the Southeast and hit all the Old Time Tent Revivals; fire and brimstone and the wrath of an angry God: All that jazz. His old man had a strange charge on for minister's wives and he must have banged fifty of them this one summer. And that's when he met Manchester's mother. His daddy always said that nobody needed a good lay like a minister's wife and once it was out there…well, you couldn't hardly pull 'em off it. He knocked up Manchester's mother and just drifted on and she spent two years tracking him down. Just showed up one night at Reverend Purvis' Faith-Healing Camp Meeting and dropped a little boy in his lap and walked off without a word. It was a good story and it didn't matter by then if it was true or not; that's just where Manchester came from. Well…before that train caught him out in a little town called Big Finish (no shit) and cut both of his legs off and forced him to find Jesus. Yeah. Jesus was right where we left Him.
We ate some cold hamburgers and drank some hot wine and finally manage to get it; but then the wind kicked up and the dogs started sniffing around too much. We wrapped up in the blanket and fumbled back inside, looking at the stars past the streetlights one more time. We knew they'd be right back up there tomorrow.
Then...we strapped on the Vortex Goggles and got down to some serious Time Traveling.